The Barbers of Seattle
"A barber is like a psychiatrist, you can talk to them, they're good listeners...the barbershop brings everyone together, it's a place to build friendships, to become family." - Nathan the Barber
"The barbershop is a powerful thing in people's lives, inside the barbershop is a beautiful experience, beyond getting your hair cut, it's the experience you have when you're here." - Earl the Barber
"I'm a 'hairapist', barbers know more about their clients than some of their best friends." - Rick the Barber
"It was cozy and people enjoyed coming in there, It made it possible for people to come in and see a lot of their friends...I like to see all people get together and learn about each other's cultures." - Frank the Barber
Walking into many barbershops is like walking into a family living room. There is a system of relationships built over time, a shared history, and visible evidence of all of that in the decorations, memorabilia and other materials seen there. The "real life" aspect of barbershops is similar to what is experienced in churches or diners - places where people are their authentic selves and feel comfortable in their communities. Themes of ethnic heritage, the immigrant experience, local-scale economies and networks, and cultural expression are all expressed within the barbershop. Not to mention hair-cutting!
This is a time of fast-moving, dramatic changes in the Puget Sound region. Economic development and gentrification are causing shifts in local populations and businesses, including barbershops. Documentation of the "here and now" becomes that much more critical when the changes are occurring so rapidly.
(Note the folders below contain both video and still images. Video is unedited, still images are a selected smaller group of the total set of images captured at each barbershop. In the future, additional supporting material for each barbershop as well as additional material relating to the larger topic of Seattle Barbershops will be added.)